From Chile to California


In 1978, a young Alex Guarachi boarded a plane from Chile to California with the goal of becoming a professional soccer player. Sidelined by an injury in college, a soccer career was no longer an option, and Alex had to set his sights elsewhere.

Alex hails from Santiago, Chile. One of eight children, wine, some of the best from his homeland, was a staple on the dinner table. When Alex made the pilgrimage from Chile to the U.S., those wines were nowhere to be found. Vowing to change that, he and a business partner formed TGIC – Thank God It’s Chilean.

Recognizing a virtually untapped market for Chilean wine, in 1985, Alex managed to purchase his first container of Chilean wine, and TGIC Importers, Inc. was officially open for business. What began as a one-man show operating out of Alex’s dimly lit garage grew into a multi-million dollar company boasting a portfolio of some of the finest wines from not only Chile, but also Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and California.

Join us as we talk with Alex about his nearly 30 years in the wine business, the emergence of Southern Hemisphere wines, and how he came to start his own wine label.

Find out more about TGIC Importers:

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Show #303
(44:24 min 42MB)

3 Responses to “From Chile to California”

  1. 1 Charlie Brown Apr 22nd, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I really enjoyed this one. Fron 1995 to 2007 I was traveling to Chile two or threentimes a year for business and grew to love the people, the food and of course the wine. Although my travels were mostly limited to Santiago and non-wine producing regions I always made a point to try wines that were unavailable in the US. Interesting, I vividly recall trying to coax my Chilean dinner companions to try a Carmenere, mostly they wanted Cabs (who can blame them) but sometimes I won out and now I enjoy Chilean Carmenere along with Cabs.

    Can’t wait to get back to Chile someday.

    Charlie Brown

  2. 2 John Gonzalez Apr 28th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Loved this show…lots of great information and made me really want to go out and get some carmenere. Hope you do shows more often!

  3. 3 Sergio Rodriguez Jun 19th, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Great article. I enjoy learning about the history of different wines. This was definitely an eye opener for me. Very interesting how when we look back at things that have gone wrong in our lives we see that there was a reason for it. Just think, if Mr. Guarachi wouldn’t have gotten hurt, he would have made a career out of soccer instead of starting the wine importing company that introduced California to Chilean wines.

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